29/03/2023 Aprende Inglés Today

The magic light of fireflies

By P. Ruiz – AIT Language School

Have you ever wondered how it is possible that an animal can emit its own light?

It’s thanks to the bioluminescence. But what is it? This is light produced by a chemical reaction within a living organism. Bioluminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as in some fungi and terrestrial insects such as the firefly.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into this and focus especially on fireflies. Why do they take advantage of this curious ability?

Well, it is assumed that this illumination is a warning signal against predators. In some species, male and female adult fireflies’ lanterns are more complex, with the capability of flashing the light, that’s right, like the light on the top of an ambulance. Each species has its own specific light pulse pattern, which allows them to communicate with each other. For example, the female is usually resting in the forest while males are flying around sending and receiving signals. The females respond to “their” males to reveal their location, and reproduction is initiated.

In addition to its own benefits, you may agree with me that this brilliant ability is also a wonderful gift for us. Imagine yourself lying in the grass on a summer night with thousands of fireflies performing a beautiful dance above you.

It’s simply marvelous, isn’t it?

The magic light of fireflies


Answer the following questions:

  1. What is bioluminescence?
  2. Why do the fireflies emit light?

Listen to the song and fill in the gaps.



Owl City

You would not __________ your eyes
If ten __________ fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell __________
‘Cause they fill the open __________
And leave teardrops __________
You’d think me __________ but I would just stand and stare

I’d like to make __________ believe that planet Earth turns __________
It’s hard to say that I’d __________ stay awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause __________ is never as it seems

‘Cause I’d get a thousand __________
From ten thousand lightning __________
As they tried to __________ me how to dance
A foxtrot __________ my head
A sock hop beneath my __________
A disco ball is __________ hanging by a thread (thread, thread)


__________ my door open just a crack
(Please take me away from here)
‘Cause I feel like __________ an insomniac
(Please take me away from here)
Why do I tire of counting __________?
(Please take me away from here)
When I’m far too __________ to fall asleep

To ten __________ fireflies
I’m weird ‘cause I hate __________
I got misty eyes as they said, «Farewell» (they said farewell)
But I’ll know where several are
If my __________ get real bizarre
‘Cause I saved a few and I __________ them in a jar (jar, jar, jar)

(chorus) x2